Compassionate entry for travellers and limited release from quarantine

Upcoming border changes

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals may be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel on the following dates if they meet specific criteria:

  • Effective August 9: American citizens and permanent residents of the United States, who currently reside in the United States, who meet specific criteria to qualify as fully vaccinated
  • September 7 (intended start date): All other foreign nationals who qualify as fully vaccinated   

The 3-night hotel stopover requirement will be eliminated for all travellers arriving by air after 12:01 A.M. EDT on August 9.

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Canadians applying for a limited release from quarantine

We understand that you're arriving under difficult circumstances, but all travellers entering Canada, regardless of citizenship, must follow testing and quarantine requirements. This is to keep everyone safe, particularly given the new COVID-19 variants in Canada and around the world.

If you’re eligible to enter and qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, you wouldn’t require an application as you would be exempt from:

Check if you qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption

If you don’t qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, and you’re eligible to enter, you need to request an exemption online if:

You need to leave your place of quarantine for compassionate reasons

You may request an exemption for a limited temporary release from mandatory quarantine to:

  • attend a funeral or end-of-life ceremony
  • be present during the final moments of life for a loved one
  • provide support or care to someone who's critically ill
  • provide care for a person who has a medical reason as to why they require support

You won't be allowed to leave quarantine without approval of your request. If you do, you'll be subject to fines and penalties for putting others at risk.

Provincial and territorial restrictions

Before applying, please check provincial or territorial requirements.

Some provinces and territories may not allow release from quarantine for compassionate reasons. This means that even if you receive approval from the Public Health Agency of Canada, a province or territory may have further travel restrictions that you must follow.

Check back regularly as these restrictions can change.

Provincial and territorial travel restrictions

Request an exemption online

You'll quarantine where you'll support, care or have the funeral or end-of-life ceremony

You need to submit a complete request for a limited temporary release exemption online if your quarantine location is also where:

  • you'll be present during the final moments of a loved one's life
  • you're caring for a person with a medical condition or supporting a critically ill person
  • the funeral or end-of-life ceremony will take place

Request an exemption online

Canadians returning after a compassionate visit abroad

We understand that you left Canada under difficult circumstances.

If you’re eligible to enter and qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, you wouldn’t require an application as you would be exempt from:

Check if you qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption

If you don’t qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption, and you’re a resident of Canada, you can request an exemption from the hotel stopover.

We recommend that you submit your application for exemption before you leave Canada for compassionate reasons. Applications will not be processed upon arrival in Canada.

Requirements when you return to Canada

If approved for a compassionate exemption, the mandatory hotel stopover is no longer required. However, you must still follow all other requirements for air travellers when you return to Canada.

You must also:

  • show proof of your exemption to the border services officer and undergo any additional screening as required
  • have a suitable place of quarantine you can reach using private vehicle
    • public transportation, such as airplane, bus, train, subway or taxi is not permitted until you receive a negative result on your on-arrival COVID-19 test

Some travellers may be unable to meet these requirements. In this case, you may be directed to stay at a federal designated quarantine facility. This is only until you receive a negative result on your on-arrival COVID-19 test.

Follow the checklist for entering Canada.

Entering Canada requirements checklist

Foreign nationals applying for compassionate entry and/or limited release from quarantine

All foreign nationals must request an exemption online and receive written approval to enter Canada. Without this advanced approval, you'll likely be denied entry.

You can apply to enter and/or for limited release from quarantine for compassionate reasons if it's to:

The person you'll care for, visit at end of life, or attend the funeral of must reside in Canada and be one of the following:

If you don't qualify to enter for compassionate reasons

If you don't qualify to enter for compassionate reasons, you may still be able to enter Canada to reunite with family members.

Foreign nationals reuniting with family

Request an exemption online

Once your application is approved

Print or take screenshots of your compassionate approvals and attachments to bring with you to enter Canada.

A government official makes the final decision for entry at the border, based on the information presented to them at the time.

All international travellers must carry acceptable identification and a valid visa (if necessary) when entering Canada. Visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website to learn more about what travel documents you need.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Testing and quarantine requirements for travellers

Travellers entering Canada must follow testing and quarantine requirements to keep everyone safe.

Follow the checklist and check the provincial and territorial restrictions.

Provincial and territorial requirements for travellers

Provinces and territories may have their own provincial border measures as well as public health guidelines within their jurisdictions. It is important that travellers check for the most up to date information for requirements for travel into Canada, but also requirements imposed by their intended province or territory of destination. They may also apply public health measures for vaccinated Canadians differently. In cases where the requirements differ, follow the most stringent measures.

COVID-19: Provincial and territorial resources

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